- Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Reprint edition (July 3, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9781451629194
- ISBN-13: 978-1451629194
- ASIN: 1451629192
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 2,987 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,749 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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A Stolen Life: A Memoir Paperback – July 3, 2012
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"This little memoir...was written plainly and simply by Dugard herself, without the help of a ghostwriter. And in that, it is powerful beyond its voyeurism…reading the experience in her own words is a revelation."—The Washington Post
“Dugard’s inspirational story…is a firsthand testament to the resilience of the human spirit.”—USA Today
About the Author
Jaycee Dugard is the author of the memoir A Stolen Life, which tells the story of her kidnapping and eighteen years of captivity. Her second book is Freedom: My Book of Firsts.
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A few reviews claimed the book was repetitive, there are times that's true but instead of thinking of that negatively and bashing Jaycee's writing abilities, I see it as a recovering woman trying to piece together a story of 18 years of captivity. A story in which people begged and pried into her privacy just to get. This book also aided in her healing she wanted to write in her own words she explains why if you read the preface!!!!
This book was a hard read but an excellent insight on Jaycee's perseverance, strength and her unbelievable ability to survive and overcome a horrific event. I never went into reading this book thinking it would contain superior grammar and writing style. I applaud her for sharing her story. (She also isn't a bad writer) I recommend this book for sure!
This book follows the life of Jaycee Dugard starting around the time she was first taken from her parents. And follows her throughout the next 18 years as Philip and his wife Nancy make her change her name, as well as Philip raping her every two to three days. They tell her that they took her so that Philip can use her for his pedophilic urges and in this way he won't have to kill or rape someone else to fulfill his twisted needs. He (Philip) also gets Jaycee pregnant twice both times she has girls and when she becomes a Mother it strengthens something in her because now she has two little lives depending on her to protect them and keep them safe.
It also really struck me how the abductor's wife Nancy was so involved in taking Jaycee who was only eleven at the time; I mean what kind of female would do that to another woman much less a pre-teen girl; I cannot even imagine being that evil. This story kept me enthralled and interested for the entire book; it does have some graphic details so if that would bother you or if bringing up unwanted abuse from your own past then although its a good book I would not recommend you read it.
Jaycee definitely has her own style of writing; she even hints in the beginning of the book that her writing style is vastly different from the norm. I love that she has her own voice and she deserves so much more than what that evil couple did to her. I gave the book four stars instead of five because at places it was really jumpy, and things got repeated a lot...other than that I really enjoyed the book. (Maybe enjoyment isn't the right word;) I'll just say I respect that Jaycee had the courage to write it, and to continue to try to live a normal happy life with her girls.
If you like true crime novels or are just looking for a change of pace; and something that will really rock you to your core than I would definitely recommend this book.
People who saw the ABC interview with Diane Sawyer saw how warm and lovely this young lady is, and her book is like the interview but a hundred times warmer and more personal.
Jaycee's story is refreshing in that it's written by her, and not from a co-author. Much of the book are pages and pages taken from the actual journal entries she wrote while in her backyard prison. You can tell that her journal entries read in much same way as the rest of the book, so in a sense, the entire book is a continuation of her journaling and her ongoing mission in life to help others. For example, it's hard to tell when you're reading from her old journal entries from her more current writings of when she's authoring this book. It's really all one voice, and you definitely get a feel for how her voice resonates through.
Some readers on comment sections of news sites have mentioned they don't want to read the book due to graphic scenes being portrayed. Yes, these scenes are there, but written in a very mature way that I think people should really read. The book doesn't focus on these scenes, as rather the book focuses on simply sharing her story and conveying her sense of hope that's still beaming today. But the sexual abuse scenes are important to all of America as they describe horrifying sexual acts that often go by generic terms like 'rape' and 'molestation.' But what do those mean? Jaycee paints a much clearer picture, and in doing so, acts as the voice for all the victims of sexual abuse that can't share their story.
In America, sexual abuse is something that gets pushed under the rug, or punished. It's like there's no in between. Jaycee didn't know what the word rape meant while the act was being done to her, and I remember when I was 11 (I was also born in 1980 like Jaycee), I didn't know what the word rape meant either. I don't think I learned what the word meant until I was 13 or 14. Perhaps if more people learn about sexual abuse, and what it actually entails, then more can be done to protect innocent victims. And more importantly, when people realize what goes on behind closed doors of rapists, perhaps there won't be parole after just a few years for somebody who had already raped a woman for eight hours straight in a warehouse. Jaycee does an excellent job showing how her captor is a repeat offender, one that therapy cannot solve. Jaycee goes on to describe the failure of the therapists that her captor visited, and how they enabled him more than anything by allowing him to make excuses rather than be accountable for his behavior.
With all this being said, this book is probably not for young teenagers to read by themselves, as Jaycee shares vivid accounts of sexual abuses that happened to her; abuses she didn't even know the names for at the time. Cautiously I note, the entire book would be a great one for a parent and teenager to read and discuss together, with parental guidance on parts of the book that are tough to read or perhaps need proper perspective put into place. (Parents, you must read the book first, as you're the one to judge if the book is appropriate or not for your teenager). In my opinion, I think it's a subject that needs to be talked about more, even if it's difficult to read, but of course, that's up to parental discretion.
The only part I found that was hard to read in the book were the journal entries that talk about her thoughts and reactions to her captor's ongoing talk about Angels and how her captor believed the Angels control people. I don't know how many pages in the regular book, but it was a few pages on the Kindle. While it's tough to read, it illuminates just how unimaginably tougher it would be to live in that kind of manipulative situation on a daily basis.
What's also tough but enlightening to read is how much compassion she has for all the animals she cared for. Through all the events taking place upon her rescue, she even asks a couple officers if they can check on her animals and make sure they're okay, at which time the officers made sure to find them and get them temporary foster homes. The irony that develops through her selfless caring often mirrored her own reality: For example, Jaycee starts feeling really badly about one of her cats being locked up with her all the time, and feeling guilty for wanting the cat's company, she shares how a shed is no place for a cat. Yet she never shows any kind of self-pity on her own situation...all you see is your strength and courage.
I just can't believe these things happened to an 11 year old girl. You really get a sense into the manipulation of the captors (I refuse to say their names) and how through the horror of everything, Jaycee completely shines light throughout her memoir. It's like there's not even a 'hate' bone in her body -- she's an inspiration to us all; that love and hope conquers no matter. And the best thing is that the entire memoir is written so warmly, it's like Jaycee is sharing her story with you directly at the dinner table. And she goes on to share, now that she and her family are free, something very important to her: The simple daily act of cooking great foods and eating at the dinner table.
One last thing, in her journal entries she mentions her goals and plans for her future once she becomes free -- so many of them she's actually doing!